Studio in TC producing virtual concerts for Mich. DIY bands | News
GREILICKVILLE – Depending on the room you’re in, the AV studio in Traverse City looks like it could either be a recording studio or a concert hall.
Why not both?
Nate VerBerkmoes, video engineer and producer for the South Of the Straits Show and Aberky Productions, produces live virtual concerts for DIY bands across Michigan.
Interested bands can hook up their gear, record music professionally on high-end devices, and stream 13 different camera angles to fans via their own social media – all for $ 150 an hour.
The idea grew out of social distancing and the elimination of most of the live shows in the US by the pandemic. On the South of the Straits show, bands played their music on the show live from a different location via a Discord video call.
“We started interviewing bands on the internet and then playing their music on the internet,” said VerBerkmoes. “It was like the whole virtual idea of ’We could do this a little bigger.'”
Chelsea Marsh from Smokehowl in Traverse City took advantage of VerBerkmoes’ offer with his bandmate Rob Coonrad.
Smokehowl was the first of 10 Michigan rock bands to do shows with VerBerkmoes. The rest came from Detroit, Saginaw, Lansing and Alpena.
Marsh said Smokehowl played music from her album, which was recorded as a guest on the South of the Straits show just before March.
“I kind of called it a digital venue,” Marsh said. “You have this setup with all of these cameras with a sound system – and all we had to do was show up and plug and play.”
Craig Babiarz, lead singer and guitarist of the Traverse City band UKR (User-friendly Killer Robots), used the room for a show that they broadcast live in May.
He said when he was doing the show and things went wrong these are the same situations they get into when they are live in front of the people.
“My brother’s gear, he’s the band’s drummer. He’s got this big kit, it’s a little riser, and everything was crammed on that little stage. They try to cram the mic stands right there and we just play so hard and the next thing you know is the mic stand … (‘woosh’) off the stage. “
UKR takes the stage in AV studios with the help of the guys from South of the Straits Podcast. They will play their hits and new songs from their upcoming album. You can find more music on userfriendlykillerrobots.com, on facebook.com/ukrband or on Instagram @ukr_punk_metal
VerBerkmoes is only aware of one other group doing something similar: JZTV in Chicago. He said he believes what the studio in Traverse City is all about is that musicians can live stream their concert on their own social media channels and also leave with a recording.
“This is a perfect thing to do a gig,” said VerBerkmoes, “because now you can take it with you and show it to a venue that’s ‘that’s what I do’.”
This is why VerBerkmoes said the price of their recharge is so affordable for DIY bands. The money that is generated from the concerts is mainly used to pay the rent and not to make a profit.
“The bands really mean a lot to us, it’s not so much about the money,” said VerBerkmoes. “Some of these musicians belong on national tours. If we can help them get there, that’s cool. “
VerBerkmoes knows what the equipment he has on hand is capable of.
In December, VerBerkmoes and AV Studios owner Andy VanGuilder merged industry-standard recording equipment to create the music venue.
The idea of having a Michigan Idol right in the Grilleckville Studios was whirled around by VerBerkmoes. The winner will receive a four-track album recorded in the studio.
“We are looking for musicians and singers,” said VerBerkmoes. “I’m looking for something similar to ‘American Idol’, but in the sense of musicians from Michigan.”
Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR